Make any special occasion a stress-free success!
Get organized. Make a shopping list and stock up on dry goods and other must-haves, like:
- Paper products—napkins, paper towels, etc.
- Restaurant-style to-go containers for sending home leftovers.
- Purchase frozen entrees, chicken or turkey.
- Frozen foods—entrées, chicken, turkey, ice cream, frozen veggies etc.
- Shelf-stable/canned goods—stock, pie filling, etc.
3 days before
If your poultry is frozen, begin thawing now. For a refresher, view our Safe Thawing Tips.
2 days before
Buy any fresh foods you need and start prepping.
- Buy perishables—fresh turkey or chicken, fruits and veggies, dairy products, etc.
- Begin desserts—make pie crust, wrap tightly and refrigerate. Prepare filling and store properly.
- Peel and slice veggies, seal tightly and refrigerate.
- Make salad dressings.
- Start side dish prep—slice bread into cubes for stuffing and organize ingredients for pasta, rice or vegetable side dishes.
- Find delicious Side-Dish Inspiration.
1 day before
Set the table and prepare the desserts.
- Set the table, arrange flowers or centerpieces and set out serving utensils (this is where the kids can be your helpers).
- Bake any remaining desserts, like brownies, cakes or tarts. Cool and cover.
3-7 hours before serving
Time to roast.
- Season and roast the chicken or turkey—for a refresher, check out our Roasting Guidelines.
- Finish any side dish prep—add seasonings to stuffing, prepare vegetables for baking and cook pasta or rice.
3 hours before serving
Get a head start on starters.
- Prepare any pre-dinner snacks and appetizers; cover or refrigerate as needed—crudités, cheese and crackers, chips and dip, etc.
- Get great-tasting Appetizer Recipes.
- Make any green salads, but wait to add dressing.
- Make mashed potatoes—warm them up right before serving, or keep warm in a crock pot.
1 hour before serving
- Arrange flowers or centerpieces and set out serving utensils (this is where the kids can be your helpers).
- Remove the chicken or turkey from the oven and cover.
- Open up wine to breath.
- Make gravy with chicken or turkey pan drippings. For perfect results every time, follow our Gravy Guide.
- Prepare or warm up any remaining side dishes.
just before serving
Relax, it’s the final countdown.
- Warm rolls and mashed potatoes.
- Dress salads.
- Transfer side dishes and gravy to serving dishes (family and friends make excellent helpers for this job).
dinner is served
Just a few final touches.
- Carve the chicken or turkey—for a refresher, check out our Carving Guidelines.
- Warm baked desserts during dinner in a low-temperature oven.
AFTER THE MAIN COURSE
- Refrigerate leftovers immediately.
- Brew coffee and serve desserts.
- Send leftovers home with guests in restaurant-style to-go containers.
- Suggest one of these yummy Recipes Using Leftovers.